Hiscox people: Samantha Newman

How long have you been in insurance?
Seven and a half years.

What’s your background?
I wasn’t in insurance before so everything I know I learnt at Hiscox. My background was sales and I’ve worked for Proctor and Gamble, Mars, Pepsi and BBC Worldwide. What I really like are strong branded companies and that’s what really appealed to me about Hiscox.

What motivates and inspires you?
I like getting things done and achieving results. Last year I was super-proud when my team competed in our sales competition to win the Robert Hiscox Cup and came second. We also have a competition for Underwriter of the Year and one of my team, Matt Hodge, won that last year. I was so thrilled to see how proud he was.

Are tough decisions best taken by one person?
I don’t think you can have a hard and fast rule on that, as it depends on the situation. Sometimes decisions do need to be taken by one person, but generally I think it’s important to consult. Ultimately the buck has to stop somewhere and you just have to make a call.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Honestly, it’s been building the team here in Maidenhead and becoming a better manager. When I moved across, I wasn’t quite sure how to do it, how to connect with the team, how to really make it work. I’ve felt myself grow into the role as their manager and make a difference for them. That’s the thing I’m most proud of, my personal growth.

Who are your heroes? 
It’s my late mother who most inspired me. Starting out in life as a young adult, she gave me total confidence that if I wanted something, I just had to work hard and I would get it because I was equal to everyone else.

What do you think sets Hiscox apart from the competition?
The two things that really make us stand out are firstly the powerful brand that we have, that people connect with. The other thing is the quality of the people we work with. It’s all about personalities – we’re not cookie cutter, we like people who are a little bit different, who are experts in their fields and have personality and character that comes out in their working life. That makes it a great place to work.

What Hiscox products/service opportunities are you most excited about this year?
We have launched a brand-new upgraded wording for home insurance for our high-worth clients. Our entire proposition has been upgraded. For example, unlimited cover is now an option for some of our high-worth customers so they no longer have to worry about the value of their house if it burns down – as long as it’s not more that £3m, it’s covered. It removes any fear for the client, the broker or ourselves that the customer is underinsured. They’ve got that confidence and I think that’s a big step forward.

Describe your management style…
The top tip I was given that impacted the way I manage came from our CEO Steve Langham. He explained that if your people are happy then everything else will follow, they will do what needs to be done, they’ll put in the hours and it will just work. So that’s what I try and do. I see myself as their problem-solver.

What do you enjoy most about working for Hiscox?
The variety. Every week I open up my diary with a sense of anticipation, in terms of what am I going to be doing, where am I physically going to be, and who am I going to be seeing. It’s the classic ‘no two days are the same’. I could be having back-to-back one-to-ones with my team, I could be out to lunch or dinner with brokers, or I could be poring over spreadsheets doing the budget for next year. There’s so much variety in what I do and I’m never bored. I love that.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?
I don’t have a favourite destination, rather a style: cruising – all varieties, all destinations.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness is kicking back with a good thriller, a cocktail in my hand, on a sunbed – and knowing I’ve got another two weeks of holiday to go.